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This year, forget the jingle-belling and the mistle-toeing – at Blended Kitchen, we’re all about monkeyin’ around on Christmas morning. There’s no sweeter way to begin Christmas brunch than with our wildly delicious monkey bread, made with Pillsbury Grands! biscuits, butter, brown sugar and a bourbon crème anglaise (Booze for breakfast? HELLO!) We also put a twist on the classic bacon and eggs, with a spinach and sausage egg casserole and pig candy candied bacon. With food this good, the only things your family will care about opening on Christmas morning are their mouths.

Monkey Bread with Bourbon Crème Anglaise The Kitchn
We’re not sure how monkey bread got its name, but we do know that monkeys aren’t the only ones that will love this dish. Gooey brown sugar, melted butter and a hint of cinnamon transform the Grands! biscuits into little bites of heaven.

This recipe is perfect to make with your little monkeys. Nugget and his nuggety friend had the time of their lives helping Cindy make (and eat!) our monkey bread. The hardest part? Waiting 10 minutes for the monkey bread to cool before you can eat it. It seemed like an eternity!

The bourbon crème anglaise turned out a little too custardy for our liking, but the flavor was spot on. The mistake we made was cooking it a little too long. The recipe says to cook the anglaise for about 10 minutes, but 5 would have left the sauce as a cream and not a custard. Next time, we think we’ll try using the icing from the Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake we made for Thanksgiving instead.

We’re not monkeyin’ around when we tell you how good this bread was. It’s supposed to serve between 6 and 8 people, but we could have eaten the entire batch by ourselves. In fact, we had to throw half of it away so that we would stop eating it. And then we had to dump other trash on top of it so we wouldn’t dig it out… but that’s a story for another day. This monkey bread will be the best gift you can give your family on Christmas.

For the Monkey Bread
2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the bourbon crème anglaise
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Monkey Bread:
Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut the biscuits into small pieces, about 1-inch in size, rolling each in the palm of your hands to form a smooth ball.

Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Have the melted butter ready in a separate bowl. Dunk each ball into melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until coated evenly.

Dip biscuits in butter.

Then coat biscuits in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Layer the balls as you go in a well-greased Bundt pan, staggering the rows as you build.

Layer the pieces in a Bundt pan.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown and the caramel is bubbling.

Cool the bread in the pan for NO LONGER THAN 5 minutes (to prevent sticking), then turn out onto a serving platter.

Ooh ooh! Ahh ahh!

Cool for an additional 10 minutes before eating. This bread is best enjoyed immediately. Serve with bourbon crème anglaise dipping sauce.

It's bananas how good this monkey bread is!

For the bourbon crème anglaise
Heat the cream and milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-low until a ring of bubbles begins to form around the edges.

Notice how the milk is just barely bubbling around the edges.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt.

Pour about 1/4 of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking vigorously to prevent scrambling. Pour the warmed eggs into the remaining milk in the saucepan.

Return the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 5 minutes – this is where we went wrong. Don’t let the sauce cook too much or it will become a custard. Five minutes should be enough time!) Whisk in the vanilla and bourbon.

Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve and chill, covered, until ready to serve (We didn’t strain because it was too thick to do so – just make sure you don’t overcook it!)

See how thick the sauce is? That's not what it's supposed to look like, but it did taste pretty darn good!

Spinach Sausage Brunch Casserole Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks #142
Traditionally, egg casseroles are bland and filled with cheese, bread and sausage. This casserole, however, is in a Christmas-y league of its own, with colorful spinach, fresh basil and roasted red bell peppers. Don’t worry – it’s not all healthy! – it also features Italian sausage and two types of cheese. If you’re looking for a twist on the boring traditional egg casserole, this is it.

You can make this dish up to 24 hours beforehand, so you’re not wasting precious present-opening time on Christmas morning. If you’re not wild about Italian sausage, pork sausage or spicy sausage would work wonderfully. This recipe serves 8 to 10 people, so it’s the perfect dish to serve when you’ve got extended family in town. If you’ve got a smaller family, you can halve the recipe and bake it in an 8-inch square dish.

1 pound Italian sausage
1 cup chopped onions
1 jar (7 to 8 ounces) roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 package (9 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil OR 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
8 eggs
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded provolone cheese

Grease a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish. In a large skillet, brown sausage and onions. Remove from skillet; drain on paper towels.

Arrange sausage mixture in prepared dish.

Reserve half of red peppers for garnish; chop remaining red peppers. Sprinkle chopped red peppers over sausage mixture; top with spinach.

So festive!

In large bowl, combine flour, Parmesan cheese, basil and salt.

In another large bowl, combine milk and eggs; beat until smooth.

Add egg mixture to flour mixture; beat until well blended. Pour over spinach. (At this point, casserole can be covered and refrigerated overnight.)

Bake in 425° oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Meanwhile, cut reserved red peppers as desired for garnish.

More cheese, please!

Sprinkle provolone cheese over casserole. Bake an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into squares.

Candied Bacon
We’ve all heard the phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and in most cases that applies. Not with bacon. While bacon is delicious no matter what, when you “fix it” up with some brown sugar and bake it in the oven, it transforms into something even more magical. This bacon could really be considered a Christmas miracle. One tip: make a ton – your family will be begging you for more once it’s gone.

There’s really no strict recipe for this bacon, but we love loads of brown sugar on ours and we bake it until it’s well done.

Thick cut bacon (as much as you want!)
Brown sugar (load it up!)

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Layer bacon on oven-safe cooling rack, spreading each piece out. Place the cooling rack on a foil-covered cookie sheet.

Cover bacon with brown sugar.

Bake in oven until the bacon is well done but not burned. For us, this took about 15 minutes, but it can vary by oven.

Bacon and eggs get a Christmas makeover!

Next week we’ll help you plan your New Year’s Eve party with amazing appetizers and booze-tastic beverages!

Nom. nom. nom.